How to Help Your Partner Become More Comfortable with You Nursing In Public

April 11th, 2012 by Dionna | 6 Comments
Posted in Breastfeeding/Lactivism, Compassionate Advocacy, Feed with Love and Respect, natural parenting

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Because we live in a culture that sexualizes the female breast (and sometimes even scandalizes the nursing breast), it is understandable that many new parents take some time getting used to nursing in public.

But what happens if a nursing mother’s partner is reluctant to support her when she breastfeeds in public? Are the partner’s feelings and discomfort more important than the child’s right to milk and comfort whenever and wherever? Need a mother be shamed or pressured into covering up or leaving the room when she needs to nurse?

Of course not.

If your partner is still uncomfortable with a mother nursing her child in public (namely – you), here are a few things you might try.

Educate

Share facts about breastfeeding with your partner. Let them know why breastfeeding anywhere, anytime is so important to you and your child. Here are a few resources that might help:

Celebrate

Take joy in the milestones, the successes of breastfeeding. How much weight has your little one gained by exclusively breastfeeding? How long have you breastfed?

Normalize

Make sure you are breastfeeding around your partner as often as possible. Make the sight of your child nursing so normal that your partner won’t think to bat an eye when you nurse in public.

Find Strength in Numbers

If you have any breastfeeding friends, ask them to join your efforts – have them over to your house (and nurse!), go on a double date (and nurse!), take advantage of power in numbers.

Reassure

Ask your partner why s/he is uncomfortable with you nursing in public. Talk through it without judgment, reassure them that most people have no idea, and that (if applicable) your right to nurse is legally protected. Often, the chance to talk it out and have their fears heard will make your partner more comfortable with NIP.

What suggestions and tips do you have to make partners more comfortable with mothers nursing in public?

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This post has been edited from a version previously published at NursingFreedom.org.

6 Responses to:
"How to Help Your Partner Become More Comfortable with You Nursing In Public"

  1. Tara   wolf_Mommy

    I don’t blame 1st time Daddies for a knee-jerk reaction to having mama breastfeed in public. The changes in our own bodies don’t affect us alone! I think it also helps to talk about it beforehand. To start preparing before it’s GO-time.

  2. Sibylle

    I gave a bit of thought to the whole breastfeeding thing recently. I have finally made up my mind.

    When I first read a few articles about it, or watched arguments on the topic on YouTube, I thought that breastfeeding mums were really trying to force things upon people, and that it was really insistent.
    But something I usually do to relativize is putting something else in the sentence than the actual topic. What I thought about doesn’t matter but I thought of other people fighting to have their own rights, and it actually became clear. Fighting is not being insistent, it’s just normal and right.

    Another concern I had was : women are actually showing their nakedness when they breastfeed their baby. But once again, isn’t that all about society sexualizing women’s breasts ? A woman has breasts, and history has made them sexy and obscene, but they originally aren’t. It’s only a part of your body you use to feed your little one.

    So I feel like I’ve grown in my mind, learning and thinking about all this thing. I’m now a total pro-breastfeeding, in public or not, it’s up to the mother, and not the others.

  3. Communication is key! I agree with Tara that it would be a great idea to start talking about how he’d feel about NIP during pregnancy. If that chance is past, and there’s some resistance from your partner when it comes to NIP (but with overwhelming support for nursing in private! :) ), I think it also helps to do it gradually when you and your partner go out with baby in public. Let him know days before that NIP will happen when you go out on Sunday. It also helps to start with discreet clothing, I guess. I think their resistance to NIP is borne out of a genuine concern that other males would think obscene thoughts about an exposed (nursing) breast. Which IMHO is something that our society needs to start unlearning.

  4. Sarh S   jjcjejmami

    I’m not too sure on how my fiancee feels about me nursing in public, I think as long as I am not exposed he doesn’t mind… he just doesn’t want other men or women looking at my breasts and says my tank tops are more then enough when it comes to revealing. Silly men! Thanks for the tips!

  5. I have been breastfeeding for 13 months, 1 week, and 5 days…to be exact. It has taken me a long time to become comfortable nursing in front of others or in public. Thankfully, my husband has been extremely supportive since day 1. He has encouraged me to keep on breastfeeding and has never pressured me to leave a room, go to a bathroom, or cover up my boobs. My son has never appreciated a blanket over his head and especially now, that he is 13 months he would never allow a blanket!! We just keep on trucking, though my Dr. has advised weaning… but my son isn’t ready. Women should not feel pressured to hide out because they are providing their child with the best possible nourishment. It can be a struggle to feel comfortable in public though. The tip to feed with friends is a great one!! Last 4th of July a friend of mine had a party and there were 3 of us breastfeeding babies in the living room at one time. People were walking in and out the entire time, but when there is strength in numbers it makes the situation a whole lot easier. Comments, looks, criticism, etc., are going to be present in WHATEVER choice a mother makes for her children. The best thing a mother can do, in my opinion, is hold strong to her conviction that she is making the BEST possible choice for her child!

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